Poll of The Week: The Dip - have you survived? Watch

Poll: Were you able to overcome problems and doubts that you faced in your first semester?
Yes (3)
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Kevin De Bruyne
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Report Thread starter 3 years ago
Your first year at uni? Felt happy at first, but feeling unhappy and wanting to leave now? Or has this happened to you in the past? Share your experiences here!

You may have had a talk about this at the start about what I dub ‘The Dip’. Everything may feel fine during the first few weeks when you suddenly start to doubt yourself, wonder whether you’d be better off at another uni or studying another subject. Or you suddenly feel very homesick and want to visit and never come back to uni, or you just don’t enjoy it.

This thread is for people to share their experiences, how they felt or feel now and what decisions they’ve made.

Here’s my story:
I felt homesick immediately and felt out of place, but didn’t think I should give up so early, and most importantly, didn’t go home for over a month. It’s important to avoid going home during those first few weeks, as you may be tempted never to come back.

These doubts and worries disappeared as I got used to lectures, studying, living with other people and the whole uni experience until the 5th week, a week after I’d come back from a weekend home, which may have contributed to those feelings being resurfaced.Because the October the 15th deadline was coming up, I started think, right, now’s my time to decide what’s going to happen, whether I should apply to one of the Oxbridge universities for Maths as it would have been a fair bit of an upgrade from the uni that I currently study at. I wouldn’t have the grades to apply to either uni, but I wasn’t really thinking clearly at the time and it was wishful thinking.

I never told anyone about it, apart from one or two friends who didn’t go to the same university. I didn’t consult my parents, I didn’t talk to my personal tutor. I knew that some people were struggling with the course and that was some comfort but not a huge amount.I didn’t feel particularly happy and still felt quite homesick but went on anyway.

Thankfully, there was coursework to do which was eating up my time as well as having to start revision for January exams. Nothing eventful happened for a good while.

During my exams I start to felt a bit more confident. I thought, maybe I can do this, it's not as bad as I thought, and the work I've put in is starting to pay off.

After exams, I don’t know… something just changed and I started to really connect with some of the people that I was living with. We went to see films, played games, went jogging together, there were plans of us all living together and I just felt really happy, and that was what convinced me to stay.

Fast-forward to year 2 and those friends continue to keep me happy, even though we don’t all live together – we still occasionally bump into each other on campus and go over to theirs to play games.

The course has started to become a bit more interesting and I’m looking forward to most of the modules that I’ll be studying, as well as the year-long placement that I should be doing (if I can find a place!) next year. So doing a course that’s enjoyable/engaging is quite an important factor.
So..what kind of things should you do?
  • Remind yourself of why you’ve picked your uni/course/subject. Hopefully this will motivate you. If these things are no longer true, then maybe it’s time to start thinking about perhaps a similar or different course at your uni, or maybe another one, but don’t rush any decisions!
  • Have something to keep you busy. Whether it’s revision, coursework, something society related, sport or volunteering, something to give you a sense of progress.
  • Enjoy time with your friends from your course, or your flatmates, or the things mentioned above. I appreciate that it’s often difficult to find ‘good’ friends at uni that you can really connect with and you find that you’ve only made some friends/acquaintances and this could be the root of why you may feel unhappy.
  • Don’t make any hasty decisions, but don’t just ignore things either. If things really don’t seem to be getting better then maybe there is an issue that needs fixing. You can speak to your personal tutor for advice or use wellbeing services at your university.Fire away!

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